Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman has called for fellow Democratic Senator Bob Menendez to resign from the U.S. Senate following his indictment on Friday. The charges against Menendez include bribery, fraud, and extortion under the color of official right.
Fetterman, who is known for his strong stance against corruption, took to social media to express his views on the matter. In a tweet on Saturday, Fetterman said, “Senator Menendez should resign. He’s entitled to the presumption of innocence, but he cannot continue to wield influence over national policy, especially given the serious and specific nature of the allegations.”
Senator Menendez should resign.
He’s entitled to the presumption of innocence, but he cannot continue to wield influence over national policy, especially given the serious and specific nature of the allegations.
I hope he chooses an honorable exit and focuses on his trial.
— Senator John Fetterman (@SenFettermanPA) September 23, 2023
The indictment, which was unsealed on Friday, accuses Menendez and his wife of having a corrupt relationship with New Jersey businessmen Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes. These businessmen allegedly gave the senator hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for his protection and influence, as well as to benefit their interests in Egypt.
According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the bribes included cash, gold, a luxury vehicle, and paying off Menendez’s mortgage. Federal authorities reportedly found gold bars and nearly $500,000 in cash during their investigation, which they linked back to the businessmen Menendez was allegedly working with.
Menendez, who faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted, has denied the charges and claims he is the victim of a wide-ranging conspiracy. In a statement released on Friday, he said, “For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave. Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists.”
He also suggested that his ethnicity may have played a role in the charges, saying, “Those behind this campaign simply cannot accept that a first-generation Latino American from humble beginnings could rise to be a U.S. Senator and serve with honor and distinction. Even worse, they see me as an obstacle in the way of their broader political goals.”
Despite calls for his resignation, Menendez has maintained his innocence and says he will not step down from his position. In a second statement released Friday evening, he said, “It is not lost on me how quickly some are rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat. I am not going anywhere.”
Menendez’s indictment has sparked outrage and calls for his resignation from both sides of the political spectrum. It remains to be seen how the senator will handle these allegations and whether he will continue to stay in office while facing serious charges.